The central philosophical texts of this volume, the “metaphysical” or “cosmological” essays of the early 1890s published in The Monist, have long been a source of enjoyable controversy for Peirce scholars. From the reasonably straightforward arguments of “The Doctrine of Necessity Examined” to the wild and fascinating speculative suggestions in “Evolutionary Love,” Peirce marks out the transitional ideas of his mid-career. Whether one sees, as I do, a continuity among these essays and their predecessors and followers, or whether one reads (...) them as idiosyncratic efforts of a midlife Peirce, one is compelled to wrestle with their meaning. This alone makes the reading of Volume 8 of the Chronological Edition an .. (shrink)
The task at hand is to review work on the history of early American pragmatism from the last ten years. However, writing on the history of pragmatism presents us with a different problem than, say, dealing with historical accounts of Mill’s Logic. The meaning of ‘pragmatism’ is routinely contested and, likewise, who is to count as a pragmatist is contested. The issue, of course, arose soon after William James named “pragmatism” in his 1898 talk at Berkeley titled “Philosophical Conceptions and (...) Practical Results.” The discussions of pragmatism that ensued in journals soon thereafter marked James, Charles Peirce, John Dewey, and F. C. S. Schiller as pragmatists. There were, as well, a number of “friends” of pragmatism such as Addison Moore. There were also clear-cut opponents of pragmatism including the likes of Paul Carus and James E. Creighton. But issues quickly muddied the waters. American idealist Josiah Royce, objecting to what he took to be the intellectually loose Jamesian-Schillerian strand of pragmatism, named them ‘pure pragmatists’, and then... (shrink)
I assess some of the ways in which Santayana takes philosophy to be a personal, poetic endeavor. In doing so, I also suggest that in some ways his work in the realm of spirit is more of a philosophy of the personal than much of the work of the American pragmatists.
Fourteen philosophers share their experience teaching Peirce to undergraduates in a variety of settings and a variety of courses. The latter include introductory philosophy courses as well as upper-level courses in American philosophy, philosophy of religion, logic, philosophy of science, medieval philosophy, semiotics, metaphysics, etc., and even an upper-level course devoted entirely to Peirce. The project originates in a session devoted to teaching Peirce held at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. The session, (...) organized by <span class='Hi'>James</span> Campbell and Richard Hart, was co-sponsored by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. (shrink)
In this engaging book, Douglas Anderson begins with the assumption that philosophy—the Greek love of wisdom—is alive and well in American culture. At the same time, professional philosophy remains relatively invisible. Anderson traverses American life to find places in the wider culture where professional philosophy in the distinctively American tradition can strike up a conversation. How might American philosophers talk to us about our religious experience, or political engagement, or literature—or even, popular music? Anderson’s second aim is to find places (...) where philosophy happens in nonprofessional guises—cultural places such as country music, rock’n roll, and Beat literature. He not only enlarges the tradition of American philosophers such as John Dewey and William James by examining lesser-known figures such as Henry Bugbee and Thomas Davidson, but finds the theme and ideas of American philosophy in some unexpected places, such as the music of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Bruce Springsteen, and the writingsof Jack Kerouac.The idea of “philosophy Americana” trades on the emergent genre of “music Americana,” rooted in traditional themes and styles yet engaging our present experiences. The music is “popular” but not thoroughly driven by economic considerations, and Anderson seeks out an analogous role for philosophical practice, where philosophy and popular culture are co-adventurers in the life of ideas. Philosophy Americana takes seriously Emerson’s quest for the extraordinary in the ordinary and James’s belief that popular philosophy can still be philosophy. (shrink)
Drawing on Charles Peirce’s descriptions of his correspondence course on the “Art of Reasoning,” I argue that Peirce believed that the study of logic stands at the center of a liberal arts education. However, Peirce’s notion of logic included much more than the traditional accounts of deduction and syllogistic reasoning. He believed that the art of reasoning required a study of both abductive and inductive inference as well the practice of observation and imagination. Employing these other features of logic, his (...) course foreshadowed a number of developments in twentieth century educational theory: the belief that non-traditional students should be educated, the claim that the art of reasoning (or critical reasoning) was important to all theoretical practices, and that the art of reasoning was important to the overall growth of a person. The upshot is that Peirce’s course in the art of reasoning should make us reconsider making logic courses, under Peirce’s broad conception of logic, required courses in high school and higher education. (shrink)
In The Grace and the Severity of the Ideal, Victor Kestenbaum swims against the current of Dewey scholarship. He declares for and gives close articulation to the importance of transcendence in the philosophy of John Dewey. The guiding thread of the book is "the proposal that Dewey never outgrew his idealistic period. His philosophical achievement is not to be located in his naturalism but in the frontiers along which the natural and the transcendental touch" (137). Kestenbaum does not argue that (...) Dewey defends a supernatural sense of transcendence; instead, he documents the modes of transcendence that, for Dewey, reveal themselves within the flow of experience. This is a learned and carefully developed book, one that will provoke pragmatists to think carefully about how growth, self-revision, and... (shrink)
In 1905 William James wrote an essay in McClure's Magazine recalling the importance to his own work of the Scottish-born philosopher Thomas Davidson. In the essay, James states that Davidson was "essentially a teacher." What is interesting when one looks at Davidson's life and work is that, for Davidson, teaching does seem to be an essential feature of what it means to be a philosopher. Here, I develop how Davidson construes this linking of philosophy and teaching with a concluding emphasis (...) on the two schools he established: Glenmore, a summer philosophy program in the Adirondacks and the "Breadwinners' College," an open school he began for working persons in New York City. I offer this as a discussion paper so that James's recollection of Davidson's importance to his own work may provoke us to consider how we presently understand the linking of teaching and philosophy. This seems especially appropriate for an academic culture such as ours in which much of our time is spent teaching and in which we are often primarily evaluated by a separate category of professional "research." The American tradition has "lost" any number of its important... (shrink)
This commentary was suggested to me in part by a colleague's remark that it would be nice if we could make William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience "respectable." The implication was that though there was something redeemable about the book, it somehow wasn't philosophically or scientifically proper. The remark awakened me to—or at least reminded me of—the fact that this has been a traditional take on James's text. As Julius Bixler points out, ridicule began soon after the book was (...) published: "The Varieties of Religious Experience, appearing at about the same time as Ernest Thompson Seton's book of animal stories, was soon nicknamed 'Wild Religions I Have Known'" (1926, 1). My awakening to this attitude—a prevalent if not a pervasive one among contemporary intellectuals—led me to consider that it would be better, and crucially important to James himself, to keep James "unrespectable." James may have been a renegade and... (shrink)
To read any book by Paul Weiss is to enter into an ongoing philosophical discussion. Emphatics is no exception. Here Weiss takes up some issues from previous work but from a new angle of vision. Much of what he says also moves beyond the content of earlier writings, which is as it should be. "A creative, systematic philosopher," Weiss says, "is somewhat like a poet rewriting a long poem, preserving some parts of earlier versions in later ones. What has been (...) done is not invalidated, but moved beyond" (37). Another characteristic Weissian feature marks Emphatics: it is difficult to read. The ideas themselves are difficult, and Weiss doesn't go out of his way to coddle his reader. Serving as... (shrink)
This collection of essays aims to mark a place for American philosophy as it moves into the twenty-first century. Taking their cue from the work of Peirce, James, Santayana, Dewey, Mead, Buchler, and others, the contributors assess and employ philosophy as an activity taking place within experience and culture. Within the broad background of the American tradition, the essays reveal a variety of approaches to the transition in which American philosophy is currently engaged. Some of the pieces argue from an (...) historical dialogue with the tradition, some are more polemically involved with American philosophy’s current status among the contemporary philosophical "schools," and still others seek to reveal the possibilities for the future of American philosophy. In thus addressing past, present, and future, the pieces, taken together, outline a trajectory for American philosophy that reinvents its importance from a new angle of vision. (shrink)
In his "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of Goc" (1908), Charles Peirce argued for two dimensions of belief in God's reality. On the one side, he maintained that this belief would be useful for guiding the conduct of life; on the other side, he maintained that the belief could function as the first stage in a scientific inquiry. My suggestion in this paper is that we examine the last of Peirce's 1903 lectures on pragmatism at Harvard to see how (...) the possibility of this dual function arises out of his late theory of cognition in which the functional certainty of perception is brought to close quarters with the provisionality of hypotheses. The upshot is that for Peirce a healthful religious belief should internally "marry" science and religion —theory and practice — by allowing provisional and vague conceptions of God to carry on the work of guiding conduct. /// No texto "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God" (1908), Charles Peirce defende que há duas dimensões de crença na realidade de Deus. Afirma, por um lado, que esta crença poderia ser útil para orientar o comportamento (conduct of life); por outro, que ela poderia ser como que o primeiro escalão numa investigação científica. A minha sugestão neste artigo é que, examinámos as últimas conferências de Peirce de 1903 sobre o pragmatismo em Harvard para ver como a possibilidade desta dupla função surge da sua última teoria de conhecimento (cognition) em que a certeza funcional de percepção é usada para aproximar o aspecto provisório das hipóteses. A consequência disso é que para Peirce uma saudável crença religiosa deve "juntar" internamente ciência e religião - teoria e prática - permitindo as concepções provisórias e vagas de Deus para continuar a tarefa de orientar o comportamento. /// Dans ce texte "Un argument négligé pour la réalité de Dieu" (1908), Charles Peirce soutient qu'il y a deux dimensions de croyance en la réalité de Dieu. Il afflrme, d'un côté, que cette croyance pourrait être utile pour orienter le comportement (conduct of life) et, par ailleurs, qu'elle pourrait être pour ainsi dire le premier niveau dans une recherche scientifique. Ma suggestion dans le présent article est que nous examinions les dernières conférences de Peirce en 1903 sur le pragmatisme à Harvard pour voir comment Ia possibilite de cette double fonction surgit de sa dernière théorie de la connaissance dans laquelle la certitude fonctionnelle de perception est utilisée pour aborder l'aspect provisoire des hypothèses. La conséquence en est que pour Peirce une saine croyance religieuse doit "unir" intrinsèquement science et religion - théorie et pratique - en permettant les conceptions provisoires et vagues de Dieu. (shrink)
Peirce's cosmogony involves an apparent tension concerning the statusof initial ideas. They appear both dependent and independent. Peirce appears to resolve this tension, maintaining elements of both his realism and his idealism in his cosmogony, by asserting that God serves as a necessary condition for the reality of the initial ideas and by holding, through his agapasticism, that the ideas, as firsts, retain an element of spontaneity or freedom. From another angle, it is plausible to suggest that for Peirce God (...) functions as a continuum of other continua. Such a view allows Peirce to understand evolutionas a developmental teleology in which both order and spontaneity playsignificant roles. (shrink)
This article borrows from the american tradition of emerson, james, and peirce to argue that religious belief may properly originate in feeling, willing, or reasoning. i also maintain that such belief is not consummated until all three aspects of one's being--feeling, willing, and thinking--have been addressed. this approach both democratizes the possibility of religious belief and requires of full belief that it be applicable to all aspects of one's life.
This article examines peirce's technical use of metaphor. in doing so it looks at certain aspects of his semiotics and, in particular, his division of signs into icons, indexes, and symbols. the upshoot is that, for peirce, metaphor plays a central role in artistic thought while analogy is central to scientific thought.